Saturday, December 10, 2011

Even the Absurdities Have Hit a New Low

This from last Wednesday, December 7, on the Huffington Post:

HuffPo screen snap of headline and picture of Japanese-looking food, headline reads Conservatives Criticize Pearl Harbor Day Lunch at Obama Kids' School

In the story, HuffPo reported that Sidwell Friends School had served a meal that included dangerous foods like teriyaki and edamame (in addition to non-Japanese foods like Szechuan tofu and regular old fried rice). It was part of an Asian food day menu created by their food contractor without regard to that date that lives in infamy.

So it wasn't intentional. But so what if it had been? Isn't the fact that anyone could plan a meal like this on Pearl Harbor Day a sign of progress, that we are not in any way at war with the Japanese? Couldn't it be an actual attempt at reconciliation through food appreciation?

As Steven Pinker says, all too often phrases like "Remember the Maine" (or the Alamo or Pearl Harbor) are "not advisories to brush up your history but battle cries that led to Americans' engaging in wars" (page 493 of The Better Angels of Our Nature). Sharing culture, including food, is one way to break down the distances that separate us and therefore allow us to dehumanize the other.

1 comment:

Carmella said...

Can I just say, I wish I could dine at Sidwell Friends School? That is one tasty looking school lunch!

And you are right, sharing food is an easy step towards cultural understanding. I know I will like you better if you share with me.